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Quay West


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AT: Key West; Western Dock A: Bernard-Marie Koltès Pf: 1985, Paris Pb: 1985 Tr: Not known G: Drama without act divisions; French prose with some Spanish S: Deserted jetty on a river, indeterminate location, indeterminate 20th-c. period C: 5m, 3fMaurice Koch has got Monique to drive him at night to the deserted spot on the river where he secretly intends to commit suicide by drowning. He orders her to drive home leaving him there. She reluctantly watches him go into a disused hangar, where Charles helps him on his way. On the jetty, Koch explains that he wishes to kill himself to escape from the scandal of embezzling money. He puts stones in his pockets to weigh himself down. Fak arrives with Claire, intent on seducing her in the hangar. Monique, hearing Koch throw himself into the water, seeks help from Claire. Charles rescues Koch and carries him ashore. Claire reproaches her elder brother Charles for attempting to leave without telling his family; Charles threatens to beat her for going with Fak. Day dawns. Charles's mother Cécile pleads with him to stay with her in the country of filth and not to return to the land ‘where the streets are so clean’. Monique cannot leave, because the car has been immobilized. Koch begs to be taken home, but all four tyres on his car have been slashed. Cécile supports Koch, and they leave together. Rodolfo, Charles's Spanish father, comes, and is rejected by Charles. Rodolfo gives a Kalashnikov to Abad, a silent black man. At night everyone comes together in the hangar. Koch is shot on the jetty, and Fak throws his body in the river. Fak fires at Charles.

AT: Key West; Western Dock A: Bernard-Marie Koltès Pf: 1985, Paris Pb: 1985 Tr: Not known G: Drama without act divisions; French prose with some Spanish S: Deserted jetty on a river, indeterminate location, indeterminate 20th-c. period C: 5m, 3f

In vain does one seek for a coherent plot or for characters' motivation in this piece. The scenes of the play, set in a film noir location, written in a heightened poetic style, and often consisting of long monologues, are like images from a nightmare, a nightmare in which the figures are trapped beside the sludge-filled river as surely as the dead in Sartre's No Exit.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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